Chair: Joji Kumagai
Second generation Nisei whose parents emigrated to Canada in the 1960’s from Sapporo. Graduated from SFU with a degree in ecological science and toxicology. Travelled to Japan in 2001 and subsequently worked for 2 years in Japan in the JET program. Became a Tonari Gumi staff member in 2006 and then from 2007-2010 was the executive director. In order to continue contributing, became a board member even after resigning from the staff.
Vice-Chair: Heidi Hamano
Immigrated to Canada twenty one years ago. Has been active volunteer for the Family Drop In program for the last four years. Currently working as the only Japanese Accredited Mortgage Professional at TMG The Mortgage Group, the biggest independent mortgage firm in Western Canada. Previously worked for a Japanese Chemical Film Manufacturing firm, assuming the responsibility of General Manager overseeing sales and marketing activities in Europe & North America. Obtained Executive Sales and Marketing Diploma from UBC Sauder Business School. Resides in Burnaby. Hobbies are exercising and exploring different cuisines.
Treasurer: Leslay Fugeta
He was born and raised in Penticton BC, the son of long-time supporters of Tonari Gumi, Hawley and Mytssu Fugeta; and have been a full-time resident of Vancouver since 2005. Most of my career has been in facilities and resort management including service on the planning and operations team for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. He is looking forward to my third year on the Board and am very excited about the opportunities and improvements our new building will help bring to our community.
Secretary: KC Sato
KC Sato currently specializes in market research. He has been involved with Tonari Gumi since 1998 as a former staff, volunteer, and Director. A yonsei from Kelowna, he resides in Burnaby with his wife and two daughters.
Raised in Greenwood, BC, Derek grew up in a bi-cultural home with Steveston-born nisei parents (dad was interned in Greenwood and mom stranded in Japan after Pearl Harbour). Derek was always interested in his Japanese heritage. His first encounter with Japan was at 19 when he spent 18 days at a danjiki dohjoh in the mountains of Nara. After graduating from UBC with a teaching degree he went to Gunma Prefecture to teach English. Enjoying Japanese culture and life he moved to Tokyo to study Japanese and work. After 3 years living in the dynamic & energetic city he returned to Canada. Now teaching ESL and students with learning disabilities in Surrey, Derek has become a volunteer with Tonari Gumi to connect with the local Nikkei community.
Born in Hong Kong but lived in Japan from the age of 9. His father owned a trading company in Kobe. In 1981, emigrated to Vancouver and joined Mitsui Canada as a steel trader in their Vancouver steel department. Patrick’s wife, Tomoko, became involved with Tonari Gumi in 1983 and Patrick would assist whenever he could. Upon retiring from Mitsui in 2010, he agreed to join the TG Board. Hobbies include playing squash, swimming and roller blading.
Born in Miyagi prefecture. After graduating in international relations, worked for a Tokyo-based IT firm. Last year graduated with an MA in Education from UBC. Has done research on Japanese Canadians in Vancouver. Plays the koto as a hobby and has been performing for more than 25 years.
Chuichi Chris Nakahori
Born and raised in Japan. I moved to Canada in 1968 as a student. Received Immigrant status in 1970 and partnered in many businesses. Since 1999 I have been actively involved in Seaborn Enterprises. One of the hobbies I have been enjoying since 1973 is being part of the chorus group, “Sakura Singers” I was elected as one of their Directors last year.
Born in Japan, but raised in Vancouver since six months of age. Graduated with a Bachelor of Science from UBC in 2005, after which she joined the family business at Oak West Realty, and is working to transition the company into the second generation. Enjoys contributing back to communities that have supported her and her family, and those associations that have real impact on the betterment of all British Columbians, including Tonari Gumi.
Montreal born and raised Sansei. Upon graduation from McGill University, spent 5 wonderful years working in Africa. This was followed by a 32 year career with the federal government which included self-government and treaty negotiations. Now retired and enjoying lots of walking, golf and skiing.
Born in Tokyo at age 7, moved to Vancouver when her family decided to relocate back to her father’s country of birth. Graduated from UBC dental school and has been practicing general dentistry in Vancouver for 25 years. Preferring to spend time outdoors leads an active life style with her husband and 2 teenaged kids.
Lurana Kikuko Tasaka
Lurana Tasaka, or Kikko as she is better known at Tonari Gumi, has been intimately involved with Tonari Gumi both as a staff member and then subsequently as a dedicated volunteer for more than 20 years. She is a third generation sansei but has also experienced the wartime forced evacuation and so has a deep understanding of the Japanese Canadian community. Kikko is a strong supporter of building a community where our seniors can feel “at home” and all members of the community can work together to reach out and help each other.
Born in Toronto, raised in Edmonton with work experiences in various locales across the country, Greg settled in Burnaby, where he has lived for the past 3 decades. His connection to the Japanese Canadian community and culture began with marriage to his wife Nanami who grew up in Greenwood BC. After a 35 year career in bank branch administration, human resource management and project development, Greg retired several years ago to participate in the anti-doping group with the 2010 Olympics. His present independence provides great opportunity to contribute time and experience where they may be of assistance.
Born in Japan, lived in Tokyo and Sapporo before moving to the U.S with family at the age of 8. Emigrated to Canada shortly after. Connection with Tonari Gumi began in 1999 as a summer student while attending undergraduate studies at SFU. Since then have volunteered for administrative duties, regular programs, and special events. Completed M.Sc. (OT) at the University of Alberta in 2007 and currently works as a community Occupational Therapist providing home health and vocational rehabilitation services. Leisure activities include travelling, hiking, and reading.